#3 Suffering Burnout
I often work under that mindset that while I may not be the smartest or most talented person, I can earn my way to bettering myself with a relentless work ethic. I get to school early; I leave late; I work weekends — while at times worrying that it is not enough. I often give so much to school that I am exhausted. I get to breaks, and I pull away from my family to get the rest I need. (For reference, I fell asleep during my family Christmas this year after our meal, and when I woke up, everyone was gone except for my parents.)
As the stress of these long hours wears on me, I seem to lose the interest and motivation that has helped me find success in work. These relentlessly long hours week after week can significantly: reduce my productivity, drain my energy, and impact my attitude. There are always certain points in the school year where I feel like I have nothing left to give physically and emotionally. Burnout is a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it always finds a way to creep up on me.
I am going to commit myself in 2020 to try to avoid getting to these points of pure exhaustion. I know there are weeks that work will still require ridiculous hours, but here are a few practices I am going to try to put in place to keep myself from suffering from burnout during those long weeks or months.
- Finish reading Stillness is Key by Ryan Holiday and put some of the ideas from this book into action;
- Find more ways to show gratitude to the people in my life both personally and professionally;
- Get back to daily journaling;
- Put my phone in my bedroom when I get home in the evening (I will still get notifications of calls and text on my watch so if something essential comes through I will still see it, but at least I will not be checking email every 10 minutes).
The work we do in education is vitally important, but it is not worth putting so much time into that we sacrifice ourselves or our families. A burnt-out educator is not useful to anyone. Here’s to all of us finding more balance in 2020.